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Today Ubisoft announced that, in an effort to promote environmental awareness, the company will no longer feature printed manuals in boxed copies of its games. Instead there will be digital in-game manuals for its Xbox 360 and PS3 releases.

The first console game to get the new digital manual treatment will be Shaun White Skateboarding, due out this fall. 

According to Ubisoft, “Ubisoft’s digital game manuals will provide multiple benefits for the player and the environment. Including the game manual directly in the game will offer the player easier and more intuitive access to game information, as well as allow Ubisoft to provide gamers with a more robust manual. Ubisoft internal data shows that producing one ton of paper used in Ubisoft’s game manuals consumes an average of two tons of wood from 13 trees, with a net energy of 28 million BTU’s (equivalent to average heating and energy for one home/year), greenhouse gases equivalent of over 6,000 lbs of CO2, and wastewater of almost 15,000 gallons.”

In regards to PC games, Ubisoft stated that it has, “featured digital game manuals in its PC titles distributed in North America since March 2010.” To further this green agenda the publisher will use “environmentally-responsible DVD case[s]” made by Technimark. PC gamers can expect to see these new cases on April 27 when Splinter Cell: Conviction hits the PC.

I really respect this type of action. Being your typical ultra liberal college student, I’m all for helping out the environment. Personally I believe that small steps like the ones Ubisoft is taking here are going to be what ultimately sparks change in the industry.

What do you guys think? Is this just some ploy by Ubisoft to make gamers think the company has a heart? Are you going to miss printed manuals?


  1. I do miss printed manuals, and being the typical ultra cynical college student I’m fairly certain this is just a cost savings move. Then again, I’m not going to complain about making an environmentally sound choice. Besides, you can always print the manual off yourself.

  2. This “green” excuse is bullshit, pure and simple. It’s a cost-cutting measure at best, and laziness at worst. In-game manuals are fine (2K Sports did this last generation in a way), but what if there’s something about the controls that I forget in-game? Am I going to need to quit, access the digital manual, then reload my game and start again?

    I don’t buy it. Any of it.

    • To be fair, I think they are going to implement it as part of the menu system. At least, that is the feel I got from the way it was described. I’ll be sure to make a post if more details arrive.

      That being said, They probably are just trying to cut costs.

  3. I miss the cool booklets of my childhood… *sigh*

  4. The title of this post should be “Ubisoft wants to save MONEY by removing printed manuals”.

    Seriously though, who’s really going to miss their manual? When’s the last time anyone read one of those things?

  5. Last time I even cared to look into a game manual was back in the SNES era, and I just liked all the character art.

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